The Coming Matriarchy in the U.S.
I received a great comment/question about my post “Why Can’t a Man Graduate More Like a Women” asking about the potential impact of Title IX on the rise in the percentage of female college graduates relative to male college graduates. I didn’t have a good answer or much empirical evidence then but as is my custom I responded as if I did.
Title IX is most often identified with efforts to equalize opportunities to participate in intercollegiate sports for women but its real purpose was to prevent discrimination in education based on sex. Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 and is also known as the Equal Opportunity in Education Act, it said:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…
Rules for its implementation were finalized in 1975 and since it was implemented the number of young women attending college on a full or part-time basis has increased by 138% compared to 47% for young men.
Since the percentage of young women and young men hasn’t changed much since 1975, the differential growth rate is attributable to increasing enrollment rates for women. I can’t say how much of this is attributable to Title IX, a lot of things began to change for young women in the 1970s and female enrollments jumped between 1970 and 1975 as well (see chart below).
Women now comprise about 57 percent of all undergraduate students in this country. The growth trend seems to have stabilized somewhat in recent years – recessions tend to limit employment opportunities for young men more than for young women and this can prompt greater college enrollment among young men.
A lot of progress has been made by women in this country since 1975 but it is hard not to see the association between the growth in female college enrollment and implementation of Title IX. I am sure some readers will note Title IX’s shortcomings and more may object on principle to anything that seeks to equalize opportunities among our citizens. But ideology often causes temporary or permanent blindness. I’ve noted my interest in gender issues as the father of daughters and I blog frequently about gender and economics (select the “gender” category to see some) but the issue has profound implications for the future of this country; economic, political, as well as social. Women are increasingly contributing to the quality of “human capital” in this country. There are now more women working in New Hampshire than men. It is a great development that would be even greater absent the disturbing trends among young men.
From a political perspective (isn’t everything political these days?) the feminization of the workforce as I have called it (not pejoratively) along with the relationship between educational attainment (college graduates) and voting for Democratic candidates should prompt leaders of the Republican Party in this country to consider their relatively lack of appeal to women, especially younger women because as I see it, and as my daughters no doubt hope, it won’t be long before women will rule this country.